Today’s EITC is actually fairly generous to couples with children. A family of four in 2013, for example, received an effective wage subsidy of 40 percent on its first $13,430 of labor income, leading to a maximum tax credit of $5,370. For couples filing jointly, that credit started to phase out (at a 21 percent marginal rate) once earnings passed $22,870 and was entirely gone once earnings reached $48,373. Thus even families (of four) earning around the nation’s median income received at least some small benefits. If that same couple was childless, however, the wage subsidy rate was a mere percent on the first $6,370 of earnings, which implied a puny maximum EITC benefit of $487—less than $10 a week.